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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Improves to 3.6 percent in April

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary April job estimates show an increase of 23,100 jobs for a total of 2,638,000 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 22,400 jobs, while the public sector gained 700 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted April 2016 unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, which is down 0.5 percentage points from the March rate of 4.1 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in April 2015, but has since decreased by 0.7 percentage points to the current 3.6 percent, a key indicator that the Washington area economy continues to strengthen.

Over-the-Month Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for April 2016 was 2,611,500, of which 2,518,100 were employed and 93,500 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 3.6 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,890,600, of which 2,796,100 were employed and 94,500 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.3 percent.  In the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, Maryland Metropolitan Division, the civilian labor force was 3,286,600, of which 3,170,300 were employed and 116,300 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.5 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area declined by 0.5 percentage points, while the unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring declined by 0.4 percentage points.

Over-the-Year Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data

The Washington Metropolitan Division’s civilian labor force increased over the year by 8,600, while the number of employed increased by 28,100, and the number of unemployed decreased by   19,500. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring decreased over the year by 1,900, while the number of employed increased by 17,400, and the number of unemployed decreased by 19,300.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 9,600, while the number of employed increased by 32,000 and the number of unemployed decreased by 22,400.  For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased by 0.7 percentage points each and the unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.6 percentage points.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 23,100 jobs. The private sector increased by 22,400 jobs, and the public sector increased by 700 jobs over the month.  Five private sectors along with the federal and local government had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in educational and health services which gained (1,700 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities gained (3,900 jobs); professional and business services gained (5,800 jobs); leisure and hospitality gained (9,100 jobs); and mining, logging and construction gained (2,000 jobs) .  One private sector along with the state government had over-the-month job losses. Job losses was registered in information which lost (100 jobs). Other services, manufacturing and financial activities had no over-the-month job changes. Government overall  gained (700 jobs) over the month. State government lost (200 jobs), while the federal government increased  by (300 jobs), and the local government increased by (600 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 61,400 jobs. The private sector added 58,000 jobs, while the public sector gained 3,400 jobs. Professional and business services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 16,500 jobs. Six other private sector industries along with the state and local government posted year-over job gains: Educational and health services gained (6,000 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (7,400 jobs); other services gained (2,800 jobs); leisure and hospitality gained (12,900 jobs); financial activities gained (1,600 jobs); and trade, transportation and utilities gained (12,600 jobs).  Information recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down 1,500 jobs. Manufacturing lost (300 jobs).

Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area Explanations

Estimated Labor Force and Employment for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division includes: The District of Columbia, Virginia Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park and the Virginia Counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudon, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren, Rappahannock and Culpeper; the Maryland Counties of Calvert, Charles, and Prince Georges; and the West Virginia County of Jefferson.

The estimates for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area will be the summation of the estimates for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division (contained in this release) and the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, MD Metropolitan Division (to be released by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation).

Data reflects the 2015 annual benchmark revisions.

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